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October 05, 2002
Oakland, Airport, AA (aaargh)

Hilton Oakland Airport. There is a photocopy of an article with a picture of Tom Hanks in the lobby here. Tom used to work here as a bell boy. He probably worked here during the day shift though. The young gentleman at the nightshift desk has some great prerecorded phrases though, I can almost see his instructor teaching him these nice little chunks of happiness. Oh, I feel so cozy and at home when he says: “Mr. Riedel?” he looks at me, as if there were anybody else there who could be a Mr. anything in the lobby of this Hilton hotel at 1AM. “Welcome back, Mr. Riedel”. (Welcome back? This is the very first time in my life that I have ever been to a Hilton hotel. We are here because the f arriving at this early hour plus hotel was still cheaper than any other f arriving at any other hour.) The young man behind the desk notices that he has to enter me into the database... “It is your first stay with us?... Welcome to our property, Mr. Riedel.” I am actually glad he learned these phrases so well. I feel like I had a great branded experience.
The room is quite nice. There is no remote for the TV, however a Nintendo 64 joystick invites to a happy jumpy game of Super Mario 64 for $7 at 2 in the morning. There is also a keyboard which could unleash the power of the internet for me, at a similar rate. I make the harsh decision to stay away from computers, to not seek out cybercafes and to not even use the phone for a week. My interface will be camera, people, car, trees. Maybe not in this order and maybe not a complete list, but a good to exclude computers for now.
I am certainly not ready for another f. The American Airlines Experience on this “domestic” (6:30 hours) f was quite sad. “Turkey and cheese, turkey and cheese?” A passenger had the guts to ask for an alternative to “Turkey and cheese”. The stewardess actually laughed. “Options” (The smile was still on her face.) “No.” (Smile completely gone. The turkey and cheese experience was a masterpiece by Michael Angelo (Was Leonardo our pilot?) call 1-877-Italian. A true masterpiece of processed food.
The copilot was about 19 years old. He was very excited to announce that we should remain seated until we pull up to the terminal. This is something a stewardess usually announces, but they might have been asleep.
Entertainment was Everybody loves Raymond and other CBS gems. All without sound. Sound was $5 extra. I opted for the free sleep. It was well deserved after the entire check in experience.
I had the tripod checked in separately, as it was a sort of a weapon. It got its own large one size box. It took a while to find somebody in the terminal who knew how to operate a tape dispenser. He then managed to tie the box in a way that it had a very new shape and so that one of the flaps covered the destination sticker. Most of the security personell made me sing the first line of Beck’s loser in my head. It was all so sad. I felt almost challenged to try out a prank. I could have made a knife out of pizza or something. Pizza went through security unchecked. My buckle and my shoes were very well inspected however. The buckle to a degree that made me think that this guy was truly enjoying his job. All rolls of film were hand checked.
The entire terminal 9 had the charm of an abandoned train station. The glamour of air travel seems definitely gone now. American Airlines have been removing seats from their planes. They might as well keep doing that.
The air by the Oakland Airport seems fresher than the air in the deepest depths of the rambles in .
I have not taken a single picture yet, but I have measured the subtle changes of , using the new spot meter.
The sun just decided to rise over California (there is a 3 hour delay to New York). Today will be an 8 hour drive to Eureka in Northern California. We will have to pick up the car too, of course. Life is beautiful.

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